G.K. Chesterton somewhere observed that an inconvenience, looked at in the right spirit, is an adventure, not an inconvenience.
Marcus Aurelius, who encountered not a few inconveniences in the course of his reign, would doubtless have approved of that bit of stoical wisdom.
And I suppose journalists, regardless of political filiation, will come to regard our version of Paul von Hindenburg—Joe “Big Guy” Biden—as a sort of blessing.
I don’t, by the way, mean to be unfair to Hindenburg. I know that there is nothing martial about the guy who is set to move into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, notwithstanding his turning Washington, D.C., into an armed camp for his largely virtual inauguration: A wall around the Capitol, razor wire everywhere, 21,000 troops.
It’s just that in the early 1930s, Hindenburg was aged and increasingly feckless and his successor—well, the less said about that the better.
Maybe a mot attributed to Talleyrand on the occasion of a different restoration of an old order offers a better parallel: “They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing,” he said after the Bourbons oozed back into power.
Susan Rice, John Kerry, Samantha Power, Jake Sullivan—Biden really is getting the old Obama band back together.
It’s the same with Obama’s policies: on Iran, on China, on fossil fuels, on immigration.
First order of business for Biden? Grant citizenship to 11 million illegal immigrants. Think of it, 11 million embryo Democratic voters, just waiting to be driven to a polling place, offered goodies, and instructed on whom to vote for.
Or maybe they’ll just be handed a mail-in ballot (or two or three: doubtless family packs will be available).
“Personnel is policy,” we’re told. We already know what to expect from The Committee’s high-level appointments: Rice and Kerry are known quantities.
We’re in for another round of green globalism, various high-minded but imprudent capitulations on the international scene and expensive tax-and-spend-and-tax initiatives at home.
But what about lower down the federal employment food chain?
There will be many hundreds of appointments in the coming days and weeks. Two caught my eye.
Biden promised unity, so, of course, the person he tapped to head the civil rights division of the Justice Department is Kristen Clarke, who once co-authored a letter on the genetic differences between blacks and whites.
According to this letter, published in Harvard’s student newspaper in the 1990s, differences in cognitive ability, physical prowess, and spiritual keenness can be traced to differences in melanin levels between the races.
“Melanin,” she wrote, “endows Blacks with greater mental, physical and spiritual abilities—something which cannot be measured based on Eurocentric standards.”
Those darned “Eurocentric standards,” always getting in the way of progress.
Racism isn’t the only arrow in Clarke’s quiver, however. She has also demonstrated an affinity for anti-Semitism. What better qualifications to head the civil rights division of Obama’s—I mean, Biden-Harris’s Justice Department.
There has been a lot of comment about Biden’s fondness for China. Some wit commented that his preferred pronoun is “Xi.”
Be that as it may, it is almost too good to be true that Anita Dunn will be returning to the White House as a “senior adviser.”
Remember Dunn? She was also, briefly, a senior adviser for Barack Obama. The brevity of her tenure can be blamed on the former Fox News commenter Glenn Beck, who publicized the fact that Dunn regards Mao Zedong as one of her “favorite political philosophers.”
Mao, she said in a speech, was one of “the two people I turn to most” for answers to important questions like “how to do things that have never been done before.”
The other paragon, by the way, was Mother Teresa. Dunn didn’t have much to say about her.
But she waxed enthusiastic about Mao.
That would be the same Mao who, quite apart from his disgusting personal life, engineered the mass murder of anywhere from 50 million to more than 100 million people.
Estimates vary so widely because murder on that wholesale scale is difficult to tabulate, especially in a country as backward as China was under Mao’s long reign.
But there is little doubt that Mao has the grisly distinction of being the greatest mass murderer in history.
Dunn calls Mao a “political philosopher.”
In fact, as a real philosopher, the late, great Leszek Kolakowski, understood, Mao’s real achievement was as “one of the greatest, if not the very greatest, manipulator of large masses of human beings in the twentieth century.”
Mao’s violent peasant revolution mouthed Marxist slogans, but, at its core, was less Marxist than a particularly rebarbative form of anarchic and anti-intellectual tyranny.
“The obfuscation of Western admirers of Chinese Communism,” Kolakowski observes toward the end of his magnum opus, “Main Currents of Marxism,” “is scarcely believable.” I wish he were still here for Dunn.
In the 1960s and 1970s, many American universities, along with some other Western redoubts of privilege and irresponsibility, harbored a few deluded characters who declared themselves Maoists and were fond of toting around his pathetic compendium of absurdity, “The Little Red Book.”
These creatures were the sorriest detritus of our own cultural revolution. Some destroyed themselves. Others grew up, in whole or part, and were absorbed by a rich and forgiving society into the tissues of American life.
Only now is it clear that some of the most radical and benighted have subsisted long enough in the outer corridors of power to find themselves suddenly translated into its inner sanctum, the White House and other top agencies of the U.S. government.
It’s an eventuality that would be risible were it not repulsive and, indeed, frightening.
Roger Kimball is the editor and publisher of The New Criterion and publisher of Encounter Books. His most recent book is “Who Rules? Sovereignty, Nationalism, and the Fate of Freedom in the 21st Century.”
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.